The Critical Path EngineTM is a powerful tool for organizing projects and managing dependent SmartTasks. When projects use SmartTask dependencies, the Critical Path Engine will calculate the longest string of dependent SmartTasks, from beginning to end. The Critical Path represents the chain of events that dictate a project’s length.
When the Critical Path option is active, potential issues are highlighted, allowing the owner to visualize downstream impact and take corrective action to ensure the project remains on track.
This tool leverages several SmartTask attributes to perform its calculations:
- SmartTask Work Window (Duration): The time span the owner has to complete the SmartTask
- Dependencies: Relationships between SmartTasks, or the limitations imposed on the SmartTask by preceding SmartTasks
- Start Date: The day on which the SmartTask is to begin (calculated either from its preceding dependent SmartTask or is “pinned” as an explicitly stated date)
- End date: The day on which the SmartTask is to be completed (calculated from its start date and duration or “pinned” as an explicitly stated date)
To access the Critical Path Engine:
- Open a project and select the Critical Path icon from the View options. The Critical Path EngineTM view appears.
- Use the Filter at the top left to determine which SmartTasks appear on the screen.
a. Click . The Filter SmartTasks screen appears.
Available filter options include:
i. Task Status: Not Started, In Progress, Blocked, Complete, and/or Cancelled (all are indicated by SmartTask owners as they progress) ii. Dependency Status: Dependencies Complete (indicates that this SmartTask is ready to begin), Dependencies Not Complete (indicates that this SmartTask can not begin because its predecessors are still in progress), No Dependencies (these are SmartTasks not on the Critical Path) iii. Risk: Late Tasks (SmartTasks whose due date has passed) iv. Priority: Critical, High, Normal, Low v. Owner: Lists the users who own SmartTasks in this project vi. Assigner: Lists the users who have assigned SmartTasks in this project vii. Team: Lists the teams who are associated with this project viii. Viewing Privacy: No Restrictions (SmartTasks that any Team Member can view, whether inside or outside of the organization), Our Organization Only (SmartTasks restricted to those within the organization), Owner/Creator/Assigner Only (SmartTasks only visible to those who own, created, or assigned them) ix. Start Date: SmartTasks that are set to start Today, This Week, Next Week, This Month, In the next…(enter a custom value), In the previous…(enter a custom value) x. Due Date: SmartTasks that are due Today, This Week, Next Week, This Month, In the next…(enter a custom value), In the previous…(enter a custom value), No Due Date (no due date has been assigned) xi. Changed Date: SmartTasks that were altered in some way Today, This Week, Next Week, This Month, In the next…(enter a custom value), In the previous…(enter a custom value) xii. Completed Date: SmartTasks that were marked as complete Today, This Week, Next Week, This Month, In the next…(enter a custom value), In the previous…(enter a custom value) xiii. Project Phase: The phases that exist for this project are listed, and selection of a phase will show all SmartTasks in that phase xiv. Workstreams: All Workstreams (shows all SmartTasks in the project), Critical Path (limits the view to Critical Path SmartTasks—those with dependencies) xv. Task Type: All Tasks (shows all SmartTasks in the project), Milestones (SmartTasks marked as Milestones because of their significance to the project) b. Use any or all of the dropdown menus to indicate which SmartTasks will appear in the filtered view. Click on a dropdown menu and it will open to reveal filter options. c. Select the filter criteria to be applied by clicking on that option. Once selected, a purple check mark will appear to the left of the option. Multiple options can be selected. To clear selections, click <reset>. Repeat this process until all desired filters are in place. d. Select Workstream boxes to display either All Workstreams (every SmartTask in the project) or Critical Path only (SmartTasks that are a part of the Critical Path). e. Select Task Type boxes to display either All Tasks (all SmartTasks in the project) or Milestones (SmartTasks marked as Milestones because of their significance to the project). f. Click Save as my default to save these filter settings. These filter criteria will be applied to the Project view every time it is opened going forward. g. Click Reset to return all filters to their saved default settings. To remove custom default settings, click Reset on the dropdown of each saved filter, then click Save as my default. The filter criteria will then return to Moovila’s standard default settings. h. Click Apply. The text to the right of the Filter icon will change to read “custom,” indicating that the filter criteria have been changed from the default settings. i. Click the Refresh icon to the left of the Filter icon to return the filter to default settings.
- Click the Layers icon ( ) to adjust the level of detail displayed in the Critical Path view. Learn more about Layers in the Using Layers section.
- Click the Filter Enable icon ( ) to hide SmartTasks that are excluded by the current filter criteria.
a. When the Filter Enable icon ()is not selected, filtered SmartTasks will be visible in the critical path view, and excluded SmartTasks will appear transparent: b. When the Filter Enable icon () is selected, filtered SmartTasks will be visible in the critical path view, and excluded SmartTasks will appear transparent:
- Click the Edit icon () to edit dependencies. To learn more about this functionality, see Understanding Dependencies
- Use the toolbar at the bottom right of the screen to customize the view and see information in greater detail. This tool will become more important as more SmartTasks and dependencies are added, and the screen becomes more complex to read.
Click to zoom out. Click to zoom in. Click to create a shaded marquis that allows areas not occupied by a SmartTask to be clicked to zoom in and out. Click to return the SmartTask cards to their default 100% size. Click to have all SmartTask cards fit on a single page view. Click to create a cursor that can be dragged over a portion of the screen to magnify it Click to return to the default view. Click to hover over a SmartTask and magnify it.
- Use the bar at the bottom of the screen to scroll horizontally and view the entire path. (A scrollbar is also available in the Kanban view.)
- The Diagnostics Panel delivers key metrics and information points on the Critical Path at a glance. These information points include:
Due Date: This date is informed by the due date in the project’s settings. Critical Path: This date indicates the forecasted completion date based on the SmartTasks and dependencies that make up the Critical Path. When this date is red, the forecasted completion date is later than the due date. When this date is green, the forecasted completion date is earlier than the due date. Variance: This number shows the difference between the due date and the forecasted completion date. In this example, the project will complete nine days late. Impact: This number indicates the total daily financial impact of the project based on the forecasted completion date. In this example, the project is forecasted to have a negative impact of 45,000 based upon the nine day variance in its completion date. Late Tasks: This is the total of overdue SmartTasks in the project. Blocked Tasks: This number indicates the number of SmartTasks whose status is set to “Blocked,” meaning that the SmartTask owner is unable to proceed.